Michael Breimer received his MD at the Medical Faculty, Gothenburg University, in 1976. He passed his PhD examination in 1980, and became associate professor in Medical and Physiological Chemistry in 1982. In 2001, he was appointed full professor/consultant surgeon at the Department of Surgery, Sahlgrenska Academy/Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg. He was a visiting INSERM researcher at the Institute de Biologie, Universite de Nantes, Nantes, France, in 1991-2, and visiting professor and consultant surgeon in renal transplantation surgery at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK, in 2003-4.
Michael Breimer started his research in the Department of Medical and Physiological Chemistry isolating and structurally characterising blood group AB(O)H and related carbohydrate antigens. After his PhD examination, his biochemical studies relating to ABO-incompatible organ transplantation continued in the Department of Surgery. Studies of human kidneys/urinary tract revealed that human kidney contained a new type of blood group A structure. Blood group phenotypes relating to expression of ABO antigens in individual kidneys were identified. Based on A antigen expression, a hypothesis explaining why blood group A2 kidneys could be successfully transplanted to O recipients was postulated. Patients receiving ABO-incompatible kidney grafts were shown to elicit an individual specific response regarding antibody class and subclass. He was responsible for the clinical evalutation of a new blood group A/B saccharide-based immunoadsorption column. These results have been applied in clinical practice to establish ABO-incompatible renal and liver transplantation programs in Gothenburg and Birmingham, UK.
The similarity between hyperacute rejection of ABO-incompatible allografts and xenografts initiated his xenotransplantation research. Carbohydrate xenoantigens and xenoantibody epitope-specificity, the removal of xenoantibodies by plasmapheresis, and antibody neutralization using soluble saccharides, were all explored. A pig kidney in vitro perfusion model was established. In 1995, he was one of the leading scientists conducting the clinical trial in which pig kidneys were connected extracorporeally to the blood circulation of volunteer dialysis patients.
During more recent years, his reseach has been conducted in the field of regenerative medicine, focussed on antigen expression and immune recognition of human embryonic stem cells and bioartificial heart valves, the latter tissues being of animal origin.
He has published more than 150 scientific articles in the fields of carbohydrate biochemistry, glycobiology, allo- and xeno-transplantation, and regeneratvie medicine. In the xenotransplantation field, he has undertaken several international scientific assignments, e.g., as a plenary speaker, member of editorial boards, as a Councillor of the International Xenotransplantation Association (IXA, 2000-2003 and 2013-2015). He was chairman of the organizing committee of the 8th congress of the IXA and its satellite meeting (2nd International symposium on ABO-incompatibility in transplantation) held in Gothenburg in 2005.